Serving Veterinary Regulatory Boards in the Interest of Public Protection

VTNE Questions & Answers

Changes for July-August 2013 Administration

General VTNE Information

What is the VTNE?  The VTNE is the Veterinary Technician National Exam owned and administered by the AAVSB.  The VTNE is used to evaluate entry-level veterinary technicians’ competency to practice and to be credentialed.  The computer-based exam is given in three testing windows each year and is constantly updated, reviewed and reevaluated by highly-qualified item writers so that it remains a valid tool.  Most states and provinces require a passing score on the VTNE as one criterion for credentialing.   

The VTNE program has three main objectives:

*    Provide examination services to assist the state and provincial regulatory boards in their mission of protecting the public by ensuring applicants demonstrate a specific level of knowledge and skills before entering the profession as practitioners.

*    Contribute to the development of an improved relationship between knowledge and professional practice.

*    Provide a common standard for the evaluation of candidates that is comparable across jurisdictions.

Who is responsible for the development of the VTNE?  The VTNE Committee, as appointed by the AAVSB Board of Directors, is comprised of content experts and they are responsible for the review and continued upkeep of the VTNE.  In addition to the Committee experts, the organization relies on the expertise of additional content expert item writers and reviewers.  These experts perform their work with assistance from the AAVSB’s current exam vendor, the Professional Examination Service (PES).  The AAVSB Board of Directors is the final authority, but they expect and regularly receive recommendations from the VTNE Committee related to the exam. 

New Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) Blueprint

What are the changes in the new VTNE blueprint?  Per the comparison chart below,Anesthesia and Analgesia were split into two domains: Anesthesia and Pain Management/Analgesia. Emergency/Medicine/Critical Care was the new domain created. All other domains remained the same.

VTNE Blueprint Comparison:


What were the steps in developing the new VTNE blueprint?  AAVSB partnered with the Department of Research and Advisory Services at Professional Examination Service (PES). The study comprised of three phases:

*       Phase one involved AAVSB’s VTNE Committee collecting preliminary data to identify trends/changes in the veterinary technician profession.  An ad hoc committee of eleven veterinary technicians who are subject-matter experts participated in a Job Analysis Task Force (JATF) meeting in October 2011. The role of the JATF was to critically review the current test content outline of the VTNE and update it as appropriate to reflect contemporary practices in the veterinary technician field.

*      Phase two, completed in February 2012, involved 20 subject-matter experts selected as independent reviewers to comment on a draft revision to the domains of practice, job tasks, and knowledge bases that comprise the VTNE test content outline.  Reviewers were asked to examine the document from the standpoint of clarity, comprehensiveness, and relevance to current practice in the profession; and to provide suggestions for improvement.

*     Phase three, completed in July 2012, involved incorporating the domains, tasks, and knowledge areas into a survey document validated by 5,000 veterinary technicians throughout the United States and Canada. The results of the survey were reviewed by the VTNE Committee who then made recommendations regarding updates to the test outline for the examination.

What is a job analysis?  The main objective of a Job Analysis is to update the domains, tasks, and knowledge areas that comprise the content outline for the VTNE to ensure the content outline of the exam is aligned with current practice in the veterinary technician profession.  In keeping with best practices in the credentialing industry, a job analysis is conducted approximately every five years, and it serves as the blueprint for exam development.  The AAVSB conducted the last VTNE Job Analysis in 2006.

When will the new VTNE blueprint be used for the administration of the VTNE?  The first scheduled VTNE administration with the new VTNE blueprint will be the July 15 – August 15, 2013 exam window.

When will the VTNE online application window be available for candidates to apply for the July/August 2013 exam?  The VTNE online application for the July/August 2013 exam will be available on Monday, February 18, 2013.

When will the new Candidate Handbook be available?  The new Candidate Handbook with specific information on the new VTNE blueprint outlining the Practice Domains and Task Statements and List of Knowledge Statements will be available on Tuesday February 19, 2013.


New 150-Item Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

What other changes have been made to the VTNE? The number of items on the VTNE has been reduced from 200 to 150.  In addition, the number of pre-test questions items dropped from 25 to 20.  In conjunction with this change, the duration for taking the exam will be reduced to three hours. The candidate’s score on the VTNE is based on the candidate’s responses to 150 operational items; the remaining 20 pre-test items embedded in the test will not count towards the candidate’s score. The pre-test items will be used in constructing future examinations.

Why did AAVSB shorten the VTNE? AAVSB follows certification-industry best practices and decided to make this change by carefully evaluating what impact that the reduction in length would have on reliability and validity of the VTNE. The reliability and validity of an examination are indicators of the exam’s ability to produce consistent and accurate results and it was found that the shorter examination would retain high levels of reliability and validity.

Were any other content changes made to the VTNE? No.  The content of the examination will be based on the new blueprint and the percentage of test items across the nine functional areas will remain the same. The number of examination items in each functional area will remain ample and will allow for the inclusion of a sufficiently wide mix of items to ensure that breadth and depth of candidate knowledge is effectively sampled.

When will the new 150-item VTNE be administered?  The first scheduled VTNE administration with the 150-item examination will occur in conjunction with the implementation of the new blueprint during the July 15 – August 15, 2013 exam window.

Contact for Additional Information:

If you have questions about the VTNE, please contact Nancy Grittman, VTNE and PAVE Program Manager at 1-877-698-8482, x. 226 or





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